[Lambeth Palace] The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, urges governments to continue to invest in malaria programmes in his message for World Malaria Day 2012: “We have already come so far, let’s not lose momentum now.”
Dr Williams praises the significant progress that local churches and grassroots organisations have made in the fight against malaria, but cautions that “we cannot afford to let success make us complacent in our efforts to challenge this deadly disease.”
The message also highlights the perils of a lack of global funding, which “threatens to undo many of the hard won gains and risks allowing malaria to regain a hold on communities who are close to elimination.”
The Archbishop’s full message is below:
“The fight against malaria has made significant progress in the last few years. Within the last decade malaria death rates in Africa alone have dropped by one-third with some countries, like Morocco, successfully eliminating the disease altogether.
Local churches and other grassroots organisations have been key partners in enabling this progress, alongside a concerted effort from the international community through mechanisms such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
These gains are encouraging, but fragile. Zambia, a country I visited last year, was celebrated as a beacon of success on World Malaria Day in 2009, thanks to its incredible progress in reducing malaria deaths by over 50%. However, the following year, malaria was discovered to be on the rise again in two provinces, a rise linked to a lack of available mosquito nets. Whilst efforts are underway to redress this rise, it serves to underline the fact that that we cannot afford to let success make us complacent in our efforts to challenge this deadly disease.
The current gap in global funding needed to fight malaria threatens to undo many of the hard won gains and risks allowing malaria to regain a hold on communities who are close to elimination.
On this World Malaria Day I urge governments to continue to invest in malaria programmes to prevent the unnecessary death of millions of vulnerable people. We have already come so far, let’s not lose momentum now.”